Zoe Efstathiou / The Daily Express & David Korten / YES! Magazine – 2016-11-07 23:52:03
NATO Puts 300,000 Troops on ‘HIGH ALERT’
Amid Fears of All-out Confrontation with Russia
Zoe Efstathiou / The Daily Express
(November 7, 2016) — Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, said the allied nations are putting hundreds of thousands of troops in a state of high alert in an effort to deter a mounting threat from Moscow.
While NATO cut its defence budget and military investment since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has been bolstering its military capabilities, holding parades involving more than 100,000 troops each year.
Mr. Stoltenberg said: “We have seen Russia being much more active in many different ways. We have seen a more assertive Russia implementing a substantial military build-up over many years; tripling defence spending since 2000 in real terms; developing new military capabilities; exercising their forces and using military force against neighbours.
He told the Times: “We have also seen Russia using propaganda in Europe among NATO allies and that is exactly the reason why NATO is responding. We are responding with the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War.”
Adam Thomson, the outgoing permanent representative to NATO, estimates that at present, it would take the military alliance 180 days to deploy a force of 300,000, and that speeding up this rate is of top importance.
The measures come in response to Russia flexing its military might abroad, allegedly conducting cyber attacks on Washington and holding nuclear war drills at home.
Last week, Moscow was seen as deliberately antagonising NATO by sending hundreds of paratroopers to a Serbian airbase despite NATO holding disaster relief exercises just 150 miles away in Montenegro.
Putin’s decision to hold military drills so close to NATO’s emergency exercises in Montenegro — which went ahead despite Moscow’s drills — was seen as a brazen stand-off between both sides.
Igor Sutyagin, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, said: “Russia wants to show that it can intimidate NATO. . . and NATO is saying to Russia, ‘If you show up, we’ll be there as well’.”
Meanwhile, Russian authorities have been accused of attempting to pervert the democratic process of the US presidential election by hacking into Democrat emails and sharing findings with vigilante publishers such as WikiLeaks and DC Leaks.
The prospect of cyber war between America and the Soviet state also comes as the threat of nuclear war increases, with Moscow holding bunker hide-out drills for its citizens.
In a TV advert a few weeks ago, Putin advised citizens to prepare themselves with gas masks and find out the location of their nearest bomb shelters. The Russian president also sparked concern when he called for Russian nationals to return home for their own safety.
Want National Security? Dismantle the War Machine
David Korten / YES! Magazine
(September 21, 2016) — The recent 15th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade towers was a reminder of the terrible consequences when a nation ignores the lessons of history — including its own recent history. The US military budget is a tragic example.
We currently spend roughly $598 billion on defense, which is more than the next seven biggest military spenders combined: China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, France, and Japan. This represents 54 percent of federal discretionary spending. In return, we get an ability to rapidly deploy conventional military power anywhere in the world.
The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center was the most devastating foreign-sourced attack on the United States since the War of 1812. It was carried out by a largely self-organized band of 19 religious fanatics of varied nationalities, affiliated with a small, dispersed, and loosely organized international network.
We responded by invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. This led to hundreds of thousands of pointless deaths, destabilization of the Middle East, and a cost to the US Treasury of some $4 trillion to $6 trillion.
I view all this in part through the lens of my experience as an Air Force captain during the Vietnam War. I briefed pilots headed for Vietnam on the psychological consequences of bombing civilian populations. I later served in the Defense Department’s office overseeing defense-related behavioral and social science research.
The available research on the psychological consequences of bombing was clear and predictable: It unifies the civilian population, just as 9/11 unified the US population. The same is true for mass military operations against dispersed combatants who blend in with and are indistinguishable from civilian populations. Conventional military operations work only when there are clearly identifiable military targets that can be hit with limited collateral harm to civilians.
The United States bears no risk of invasion by a foreign military force. And the terrorist threat, which comes from bands of loosely affiliated political extremists, is substantially overblown. Furthermore, it is fueled by the much greater security threats created by environmental abuse, global corporate overreach, and the social divisions of extreme inequality.
Under circumstances of growing physical and social stress from environmental devastation and inequality, politics easily turns violent. Violence is all the more certain when people feel deprived of alternative avenues to express their rage at being deprived of a dignified means of living.
This all suggests we need a deep rethinking of how we prioritize and respond to security threats. The greatest threat to national and global security is climate destabilization. That threatens our long-term survival as a species; in the short term, it threatens livelihoods, which exacerbates desperation and violence.
Investing in a massive effort to quickly get off fossil fuels and onto renewable energy needs to be our first security priority. We must also recognize that poverty and joblessness fuel the conflicts we hope to resolve.
If we want a healthy Earth, justice, peace, and democracy, we need a 21st-century security agenda that addresses the causes of contemporary conflicts, encourages cooperation and diplomacy, and supports every person in their quest for a healthy and dignified life.
We must press at home and abroad for political and economic reorganization that advances democracy and enables all people to pursue a decent means of living in harmony with the living Earth.
Scaling back dependence on fossil fuels, the power of global corporations, the international arms trade, and the grotesque inequalities within and between nations need to be high on our list of security priorities. This will lead to dismantling the costly obsolete war machinery of the 20th century.
The leadership in formulating and advancing a 21st-century security agenda will not come from 20th-century institutions forged by global military conflicts and global competition for a dwindling resource base. It must come from the bottom up, from the people who are living a 21st-century vision into being.
David Korten wrote this article for YES! Magazine as part of his column on “A Living Earth Economy.” David is co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine, president of the Living Economies Forum, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, a member of the Club of Rome, and the author of influential books, including When Corporations Rule the World and Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth. His work builds on lessons from the 21 years he and his wife, Fran, lived and worked in Africa, Asia, and Latin America on a quest to end global poverty. Follow him on Twitter @dkorten and Facebook.
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